“The remaining chain swung down, he wrenched the door out and he was free. The last thing he heard behind him was the oncoming stomp of running feet.
Now began flight, that excruciating accompaniment to both the sleep-dream and the drug-dream as well. Down endless flights of stairs that seemed to have increased decimally since he had come up them so many days before. Four, fourteen, forty – there seemed no end to them, no bottom. Round and round he went, hand slapping at the worn guard-rail only at the turns to keep from bulleting head-on into the wall each time. The clamor had come out onto a landing high above him now, endless miles above him; a thin voice came shouting down the stair-well, “There he is! See him down there?” raising the hue and cry to the rest of the pack. Footsteps started cannonading down after him, like avenging thunder from on high. They only added wings to his effortless, almost cascading waterlike flight.
Like a drunk, he was incapable of hurting himself. At one turning he went off his feet and rippled down the whole succeeding flight of stair-ribs like a wriggling snake. Then he got up again and plunged ahead, without consciousness of pain or smart. The whole staircase-structure seemed to hitch crazily from side to side with the velocity of his descent, but it was really he that was hitching. But behind him the oncoming thunder kept gaining.
Then suddenly, after they’d kept on for hours, the stairs suddenly ended, he’d reached bottom at last. He tore out through a square of blackness at the end of the entrance-hall, and the kindly night received him, took him to itself – along with countless other things that stalk and kill and are dangerous if crossed.
He had no knowledge of where he was; if he’d ever had, he’d lost it long ago. The drums of pursuit were still beating a rolling tattoo inside the tenement. He chose a direction at random, fled down the deserted street, the wand of light from a wan street-lamp flicking him in passing, so fast did he scurry by beneath it.”
― Cornell Woolrich, Marihuana